A Walk In The Woods by Bill BrysonA Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson

A Walk In The Woods

byBill Bryson

Paperback | August 13, 2002

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God only knows what possessed Bill Bryson, a reluctant adventurer if ever there was one, to undertake a gruelling hike along the world's longest continuous footpath—The Appalachian Trail.

The 2,000-plus-mile trail winds through 14 states, stretching along the east coast of the United States, from Georgia to Maine. It snakes through some of the wildest and most spectacular landscapes in North America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas.

With his offbeat sensibility, his eye for the absurd, and his laugh-out-loud sense of humour, Bryson recounts his confrontations with nature at its most uncompromising over his five-month journey.

An instant classic, riotously funny, A Walk in the Woods will add a whole new audience to the legions of Bill Bryson fans.
Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa. He settled in England in 1977 and lived for many years with his wife and four children in North Yorkshire. He recently returned to the US and now lives in New Hampshire. Bryson's first bestseller was The Lost Continent, a journey through the USA by car. Notes from a Small Island was a #1 bestse...
Title:A Walk In The WoodsFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:304 pages, 7.7 × 5.04 × 0.79 inShipping dimensions:7.7 × 5.04 × 0.79 inPublished:August 13, 2002Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385658583

ISBN - 13:9780385658584


Rated 5 out of 5 by from An adventure of a lifetime *Indigo Employee* This book brought me to the Appalachian trail. It immersed me in the world of a through-hiker. Such a witty and wonderful read.
Date published: 2019-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hilarious and informative Not only did Bryson tell a compelling story about his adventures through the Appalachian Trail, but along the way he teaches and informs of the local history without the overwhelming feeling that you are back in a classroom. Bryson's style is witty and sarcastic, a great light read if you feel like a laugh and want to be inspired to get up and become one with the outdoors.
Date published: 2018-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! I loved this book. It was hilarious (I laughed out loud several times) and the author did a great job of describing the scenery. It also gave a great glimpse into the relationship between Bryson and his travelling companion, Katz. Would totally recommend it and now I want to hike the Trail! #plumreview
Date published: 2018-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it This book is funny, educational and it really makes you want to get out and experience the world first-hand. I never even knew about the Appalachian Trail before reading this book. I'd love to go see it one day. Bill Bryson makes the woods sound amazing.
Date published: 2018-02-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hilarious An hilarious account told in this good story.
Date published: 2018-01-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Good story with quite a bit of good humour.
Date published: 2018-01-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really funny! I wish there were more about the trail itself and the people on it, but the story of one completely unprepared hiker was really funny!
Date published: 2017-12-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good My son put me onto this book. As an avid outdoorsman I loved it. Very funny.
Date published: 2017-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hilarious! I loved everything about this book. There's a reason Bryson has earned the title of 'Funniest Travel Writer'! Granted, he has a very distinct voice and won't appeal to everyone, but I personally think he's great. Hands-down one of my favourite reads.
Date published: 2017-10-27
Rated 1 out of 5 by from not the best. Mr. Bryson seems more bent on sharing his personal beliefs than telling us about the trail and people on it. His politics and constant criticism become old very quickly. It is very apparent Mr. Bryson feels that he alone knows of to make America a place worth living in.
Date published: 2017-08-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Entertaining I always like how Bill Bryson books are brutally honest and may not have the happy ending you are looking for. Although this one was rich in history which was a little dry, I did enjoy his accounts of hiking the Appalachian Trail. He and his unlikely hiking partner, Katz, are relatable in that they are average people who expected more from themselves. From entertaining characters they meet along the way to near run-ins with wild animals, this story is a decent read.
Date published: 2017-06-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Inspired to get outside! I loved this book! It just made me want to get outside and be amongst the trees.Very informative and humorous, Bryson had me laughing out loud one minute and gasping the next. A great book for those who love to hike. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book Great book, couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2017-02-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourites The first Bryson book I read, and it's a great one. Definitely makes me want to hike the Appalachian Trail every time I re-read it. Just a lovely book.
Date published: 2017-01-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A Walk in the Woods He makes me mad, getting me all worked up over this book and not finishing his hike.
Date published: 2016-12-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read - makes you want to hike! I enjoyed this book. Although I could not myself relate to the author, I found this adventure charming and entertaining. It's written in Bryson's typical witty style and flows nicely through the adventure and introspective thought. I would recommend it for anyone who is over 50 and anyone who wants an easy summer read. Also, the book is SO much better than the movie.
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A walk in the Woods This was the first book by Bryson that I read.....so very, well written, easy read and I liked the addition of historical information about the Trail.
Date published: 2016-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it! I love all of his books, they are great and funny and very interesting!
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Surprised with the poor reviews :( This was my first Bill Bryson experience, and I loved it! Perhaps this has to do with my interest in eventually hiking the Appalachian Trail someday. This was an easy and fun read, if you are looking for more than that, try one of his other books.
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not one of His Better Books I have enjoyed all the Bryson books but this one. Purchased at an airport, I used it to fill in time waiting for my flight, but found I could not pick it up at home to finish the last 100 pages. If you must read it, make it one of the last of his books. The tedium of the Appalachian Trail was a reflected in his writing.
Date published: 2016-02-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Humorous writing, had me laughing. I wasn't aware that such a great deal of the book was about the history, flora & fauna of the AT. I disliked those parts. The parts about Bill hiking the trail as well as off trail experiences were excellent. At times I laughed so hard I thought I might pee the bed. I would love to read an entire book by him based only on his day to day hiking-adventures.
Date published: 2015-09-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Worth a read There were parts of this memoirs of Bill Bryson's hiking of the Appalachian Trail which were laugh out loud funny; unfortunately, there was quite a bit of the history of the trail to slog through between the humour and I found myself skipping quite a bit in the last half. However, it was a very pleasant read and certainly made me NOT want to go hiking the Appalachian Trail!
Date published: 2006-08-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Walking With Bryson Yet again does Bryson ensnare readers with his sharp wit and observations that possess the power to send us into fits of laughter or solemn contemplation. Upon first being introduced to Bryson and his companion Katz in A Walk In The Woods, it is immediately clear that these two men are the most unlikely duo to take on the arduous hike across the Appalachian Trail, a stretch of terrain over 2,000 miles long across the United States. Nonetheless, the dedication of these two hikers is admirable, though their efforts usually result in hilarious consequences. Although the middle of the book slows down, it resumes its pace and finishes wonderfully, leaving readers with a sense of wonder for the outdoors and those brave enough to venture into it.
Date published: 2006-07-05

Read from the Book

We hiked till five and camped beside a tranquil spring in a small, grassy clearing in the trees just off the trail. Because it was our first day back on the trail, we were flush for food, including perishables like cheese and bread that had to be eaten before they went off or were shaken to bits in our packs, so we rather gorged ourselves, then sat around smoking and chatting idly until persistent and numerous midgelike creatures (no-see-ums, as they are universally known along the trail) drove us into our tents. It was perfect sleeping weather, cool enough to need a bag but warm enough that you could sleep in your underwear, and I was looking forward to a long night's snooze—indeed was enjoying a long night's snooze—when, at some indeterminate dark hour, there was a sound nearby that made my eyes fly open. Normally, I slept through everything—through thunderstorms, through Katz's snoring and noisy midnight pees—so something big enough or distinctive enough to wake me was unusual. There was a sound of undergrowth being disturbed—a click of breaking branches, a weighty pushing through low foliage—and then a kind of large, vaguely irritable snuffling noise.Bear!I sat bolt upright. Instantly every neuron in my brain was awake and dashing around frantically, like ants when you disturb their nest. I reached instinctively for my knife, then realized I had left it in my pack, just outside the tent. Nocturnal defense had ceased to be a concern after many successive nights of tranquil woodland repose. There was another noise, quite near."Stephen, you awake?" I whispered."Yup," he replied in a weary but normal voice."What was that?""How the hell should I know.""It sounded big.""Everything sounds big in the woods."This was true. Once a skunk had come plodding through our camp and it had sounded like a stegosaurus. There was another heavy rustle and then the sound of lapping at the spring. It was having a drink, whatever it was.I shuffled on my knees to the foot of the tent, cautiously unzipped the mesh and peered out, but it was pitch black. As quietly as I could, I brought in my backpack and with the light of a small flashlight searched through it for my knife. When I found it and opened the blade I was appalled at how wimpy it looked. It was a perfectly respectable appliance for, say, buttering pancakes, but patently inadequate for defending oneself against 400 pounds of ravenous fur.Carefully, very carefully, I climbed from the tent and put on the flashlight, which cast a distressingly feeble beam. Something about fifteen or twenty feet away looked up at me. I couldn't see anything at all of its shape or size—only two shining eyes. It went silent, whatever it was, and stared back at me."Stephen," I whispered at his tent, "did you pack a knife?""No.""Have you get anything sharp at all?"He thought for a moment. "Nail clippers."I made a despairing face. "Anything a little more vicious than that? Because, you see, there is definitely something out here.""It's probably just a skunk.""Then it's one big skunk. Its eyes are three feet off the ground.""A deer then."I nervously threw a stick at the animal, and it didn't move, whatever it was. A deer would have bolted. This thing just blinked once and kept staring.I reported this to Katz."Probably a buck. They're not so timid. Try shouting at it."I cautiously shouted at it: "Hey! You there! Scat!" The creature blinked again, singularly unmoved. "You shout," I said."Oh, you brute, go away, do!" Katz shouted in merciless imitation. "Please withdraw at once, you horrid creature.""Fuck you," I said and lugged my tent right over to his. I didn't know what this would achieve exactly, but it brought me a tiny measure of comfort to be nearer to him."What are you doing?""I'm moving my tent.""Oh, good plan. That'll really confuse it."I peered and peered, but I couldn't see anything but those two wide-set eyes staring from the near distance like eyes in a cartoon. I couldn't decide whether I wanted to be outside and dead or inside and waiting to be dead. I was barefoot and in my underwear and shivering. What I really wanted—really, really wanted—was for the animal to withdraw. I picked up a small stone and tossed it at it. I think it may have hit it because the animal made a sudden noisy start (which scared the bejesus out of me and brought a whimper to my lips) and then emitted a noise—not quite a growl, but near enough. It occurred to me that perhaps I oughtn't provoke it."What are you doing, Bryson? Just leave it alone and it will go away.""How can you be so calm?""What do you want me to do? You're hysterical enough for both of us.""I think I have a right to be a trifle alarmed, pardon me. I'm in the woods, in the middle of nowhere, in the dark, staring at a bear, with a guy who has nothing to defend himself with but a pair of nail clippers. Let me ask you this. If it is a bear and it comes for you, what are you going to do—give it a pedicure?""I'll cross that bridge when I come to it," Katz said implacably."What do you mean you'll cross that bridge? We're on the bridge, you moron. There's a bear out here, for Christ sake. He's looking at us. He smells noodles and Snickers and—oh, shit.""What?""Oh. Shit.""What?""There's two of them. I can see another pair of eyes." Just then, the flashlight battery started to go. The light flickered and then vanished. I scampered into my tent, stabbing myself lightly but hysterically in the thigh as I went, and began a quietly frantic search for spare batteries. If I were a bear, this would be the moment I would choose to lunge."Well, I'm going to sleep," Katz announced."What are you talking about? You can't go to sleep.""Sure I can. I've done it lots of times." There was the sound of him rolling over and a series of snuffling noises, not unlike those of the creature outside."Stephen, you can't go to sleep," I ordered. But he could and he did, with amazing rapidity.The creature—creatures, now—resumed drinking, with heavy lapping noises. I couldn't find any replacement batteries, so I flung the flashlight aside and put my miner's lamp on my head, made sure it worked, then switched it off to conserve the batteries. Then I sat for ages on my knees, facing the front of the tent, listening keenly, gripping my walking stick like a club, ready to beat back an attack, with my knife open and at hand as a last line of defense. The bears—animals, whatever they were—drank for perhaps twenty minutes more, then quietly departed the way they had come. It was a joyous moment, but I knew from my reading that they would be likely to return. I listened and listened, but the forest returned to silence and stayed there.Eventually I loosened my grip on the walking stick and put on a sweater—pausing twice to examine the tiniest noises, dreading the sound of a revisit—and after a very long time got back into my sleeping bag for warmth. I lay there for a long time staring at total blackness and knew that never again would I sleep in the woods with a light heart.And then, irresistibly and by degrees, I fell asleep.

Editorial Reviews

“A comic tour de force.” – The Globe and Mail